Captain Ronwen Williams was the hero as he saved four penalties to help South Africa reach the Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals after a 0-0 draw with Cape Verde at the Stade Charles Konan Banny in Yamoussoukro.
Bebe, Willy Semedo, Laros Duarte and Patrick Andrade were all denied by Williams in the shootout. The outstanding keeper also made a spectacular late save to tip Gilson Benchimol’s effort against the woodwork to take the gruelling quarter-final to extra time.
Cape Verde’s Vozinha made two great saves early in extra time to deny Mihlali Mayambela and Teboho Mokoena. South Africa now have the chance to avenge their 2000 semi-final defeat to Nigeria when they lost 2-0 to the Super Eagles.
Williams’ fingertip save to deny Benchimol was the highlight in normal time during a match defined by poor finishing. The 32-year-old is a contender for Best Goalkeeper, diving to his right to stop Cape Verde’s first three penalties before leaping the other way to deny Andrade after appearing to check notes on his water bottle.
Cape Verde had more possession early on before Mokoena and Themba Zwane and Evidence Makgopa missed chances. Percy Tau was better placed when Khuliso Mudau fired wide. Tau was involved in a flashpoint when he appeared to push Kenny Rocha Santos, but no action was taken.
Locals celebrated Ivory Coast’s extra time quarter-final win over Mali during the goalless first half. Garry Rodrigues, Cape Verde’s hero against Ghana, started ahead of Bebe but missed a good chance. Cape Verde had opportunities after Bebe replaced Rodrigues but could not convert.
Mokoena scored South Africa’s only penalty in the shootout before two misses as they won 2-1 to reach the semi-finals for the first time in 11 appearances. Their defensive record matches Nigeria’s, and keeper Williams could be key against the Super Eagles when the sides meet on Wednesday.